Top Reasons Why You and Your Employees Should Be Using a Password Manager




Post on : January 11, 2018

Today, our workforce accesses a myriad of online services. Each of these services is protected with a username and password. Without proper tools, managing these passwords can be a security nightmare. Some of the obviously bad solutions:

  • Keep all usernames and passwords in an Excel file
  • Write all usernames and passwords on a small piece of paper hidden under the keyboard
  • Openly share usernames and passwords on a printed sheet, taped at the front of the office

Some of these may sound bad, but I have personally witnessed every single one. I have also seen worse!

 

Password Managers to the Rescue

Today there are several free password managers that are available to help solve the security problems associated with too many usernames and passwords. The solution also provides benefits to system administrators beyond simple security.

Our favorite password manager is LastPass. We also really like KeePass. Both are free and work really well. Check out their sites and choose which is best for you. If you already have a password manager that you really like, be sure to mention it below in the comments section.

 

Reasons to Use Password Managers

 

  1. Protect your accounts with better passwords – A password manager allows you to automatically generate random passwords with lower case, upper case, and special characters with the push of a button. Specify passwords with at least 15 characters where possible. This practice significantly reduces the chance of having your password hacked.
  2. Get ahead of the curve during the next big data breach – Data breaches are now commonplace. When you find out that a service you were using was breached, you can use built-in functionality to quickly change your passwords. LastPass can change passwords for you automatically.
  3. Share passwords safely and effectively – Sometimes sharing a password can’t be avoided. If you both use the password manager, you can share the password between both accounts. This means when one person changes the password, it updates in both password vaults or databases.
  4. Perform security audits to measure the effectiveness of your password choices – Many password managers will audit your passwords across all sites. From there you can identify if you are using the same password on multiple sites.

 

What Now?

We would love the chance to discuss your thoughts on password managers. Do you have a favorite tool that deserves a mention. Put it in the comments section below. If there are any questions, put them in the comments below or give us a call and we are happy to help where we can.

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Three Ways Dentists Can Improve Backing Up Their Eaglesoft Server




Post on : January 4, 2018

Many dentists across the United States are using Eaglesoft for their Dental Practice Management software solution. Careful consideration needs to be given when deciding on a backup strategy for this software.

The biggest problem is that Eaglesoft uses Sybase for its backend database and not SQL. What this means is that we can’t leverage standard Windows backup technologies, because Sybase isn’t VSS aware!

This means you need to take a couple of precautionary steps to ensure that your backup strategy meets your needs and addresses the complexities of Eaglesoft.

 

Step One: Prepare the Database for a Good Backup

Before you backup your Eaglesoft server, you need to ensure that the database engine is stopped. It is possible that at the end of the day, not all of your staff have disconnected their clients from the server. Simply modify the database engine settings to automatically disconnect all users when the Eaglesoft server is shutting down.

  1. On the Eaglesoft server, click on Start > Programs > Eaglesoft > Technical Reference.
  2. Click on Database Setup button
  3. Check Disconnect active clients when shutting down the server

 Step Two: Automate the Database to Start and Stop Using Task Scheduler

We want the Eaglesoft database to stop before we take a backup. After our backup completes, we then want to start the Eaglesoft database.

Instead of performing these steps manually every day, we are going to use the Event Scheduler in Windows to perform these tasks for us.

Note that Patterson does not support this configuration, so you will need an experienced engineer to make sure that the tasks are created correctly and that the tasks complete successfully.

Add an Automated Task to Start the Database

  1. Click on Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler
  2. Create a new task folder in the console tree called Eaglesoft Backup
  3. In the Actions pane, click on Create Basic Task
  4. Give the task the following name: “Eaglesoft Start Database”
  5. Under description, put “Automated task to start the Eaglesoft database after a backup of the server.”
  6. Set the event to start Daily
  7. Adjust the start time to a time of day after the backup will succeed. This could be 11:30 PM or later.
  8. Click on the Start a program radio button
  9. In the Program/script box input the following:
    • For Eaglesoft 15 and below: “C:\Program Files\Eaglesoft\Shared Files\techaid.exe”
    • For Eaglesoft 16 and above “C:\Eaglesoft\Shared Files\PattersonServerStatus.exe”
  10. In the Add arguments (optional) box put “-start”
  11. Click on the Next button
  12. Check the Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish box
  13. Check the Run with highest privileges box
  14. OK button
  15. Provide administrative login credentials and click on OK

Add an Automated Task to Start the Database

  1. Click on Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler

  2. Create a new task folder in the console tree called Eaglesoft Backup
  3. In the Actions pane, click on Create Basic Task
  4. Give the task the following name: “Eaglesoft Start Database”
  5. Under description, put “Automated task to start the Eaglesoft database after a backup of the server.”
  6. Set the event to start Daily
  7. Adjust the start time to a time of day after the backup will succeed. This could be 11:30 PM or later.
  8. Click on the Start a program radio button
  9. In the Program/script box input the following:
  • For Eaglesoft 15 and below: “C:\Program Files\Eaglesoft\Shared Files\techaid.exe”
  • For Eaglesoft 16 and above “C:\Eaglesoft\Shared Files\PattersonServerStatus.exe”
  1. In the Add arguments (optional) box put “-start”
  2. Click on the Next button
  3. Check the Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish box
  4. Check the Run with highest privileges box
  5. Click the OK button
  6. Provide administrative login credentials and click on OK.

Step Three: Use an Image-based Backup Solution

The reason we recommend using an image-based backup solution is because you have more robust recovery options. If you were to just backup the Eaglesoft database, and your server crashed. The image below shows a simplified view of your system.

You server uses hardware like the motherboard, hard drive, and RAM to support an installed operating system. From within the operating system we have applications like Eaglesoft installed. The Eaglesoft application creates a database that only it is able to use.

When you use a File Backup Solution you only have backup data for the database. This means that if you were to have a hard drive fail, you would have to replace the hardware, then reinstall and configure your operating system. After you have reinstalled and configured your operating system, you then need to download, install, and configure Eaglesoft. Only after Eaglesoft is reinstalled and configured can you begin to restore your database from your file-based backup solution. This whole process could take days to complete.

When you use an Image-based Backup Solution, you replace the hardware just like the File-based Solution. From there you can restore the Operating System, Eaglesoft application, and Database. The whole process can take as little as 15 minutes if you use the right backup software.

 

 What Now?

We would love the chance to discuss your thoughts on backing up an Eaglesoft server. Let us know any alternative strategies that you have found useful. If there are any questions, put them in the comments below or give us a call and we are happy to help where we can.

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